News Blog

What's happening in Cannes, teachers’ pay, panic in London - and the Shatter story

Dan Griffin Fri, May 24
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  • 09:08
    It's Friday, May 24th, and these are the morning's top stories:

    The prospect of industrial action in schools in the autumn increasedlast night after the executives of two teaching unions effectively rejected the proposed new public service deal.

    The British security forces face an inquiry by MPs after it emerged that the two suspects in the killing of soldier Drummer Lee Rigby were known to them.

    And Minister for Justice Alan Shatter faces further searching questions after he confirmed he failed to complete a breathalyser test five years ago.
  • 09:09
    Good Morning, Dan Griffin here bringing you all the news that's fit to blog.
  • 09:12
    The prospect of industrial action in schools in the autumn increased last night after the executives of two teaching unions effectively rejected the proposed new public service deal, now known as the Haddington Road Agreement, Martin Wall writes.

    The Association of Secondary Teachers Ireland (ASTI) and the Teachers Union of Ireland (TUI) said that the proposals, which were drawn up earlier this week and published yesterday, did not go far enough.
  • 09:15
    As police in the UK fear the murder of British soldier Lee Rigby could lead to copycat attacks, Mark Hennessy reports that friends of one of the suspects had become concerned by the drift in the 28-year-old’s opinions recently, which had seen him giving sermons in Woolwich in recent months close to where Wednesday’s attack occurred.
  • 09:26
    Meanwhile, the biblical fable that is the Alan Shatter garda discretion story trundles on. Mattie MacGrath referred yesterday in the Dáil to an incident in which the Minister for Justice failed to complete a brethalyser test after being stopped by gardaí at a mandatory checkpoint in Dublin.

    This morning the South Tipperary TD was on  Radio 1, explaining how it gave him "no pleasure" to be discussing the issue. Bound, apparently, by a strong sense of justice McGrath said he wanted Shatter to answer more questions on the incident.

    He added that he didn't "go trawling around people's careers to find out what went on in the past" (the breathalyser test in question occured five years ago). He also said he was "not anything like" Inspector Clouseau, as one newspaper describes him today. Let he who is without sin, etc. etc.
  • 09:44
    In the papers this morning:

    The Irish Times leads with 'Strike fears grow as teachers reject pay proposals'. 

    The main story for The Independent comes from allegations stemming from an RTÉ Prime Time investigation into creche conditions. 'Children kept strapped into chairs at HSE probe creche,' is the headline.

    The Irish Examiner goes with, 'Martin backs proposed bill on abortion'.

    The Irish Daily Mail also leads with the creche story.

    'Serial sex attacker strikes again,' says The Herald.

    Someone's going out with someone from One Direction, according to The Sun.

    The Mirror's front page shows a large, grainy image from a video of police shooting one of the suspects from the London attack. 'Eight shots and they dropped," says the headline.

    And The Star says gardaí have been trained to kill suicide bombers.

  • 09:47

  • 09:57
    Irish screen legend Maureen O'Hara (92) has said her visit this weekend to the birthplace of her friend and acting co-star John wayne in Iowa will be her last public appearance, writes Simon Carswell.
  • 10:05

    Every month the Financial Times  publishes their 'How to Spend it' supplement. This month they recommend you spend "it" on a €110 Le Prince Jardinier stainless steel watering can.

  • 10:06
    Ger Love the new feed on the android app. Shatter gate rolls on like a bad soap! :-)
  • 10:17

    Also in today's FT: McDonald's chief goes on defensive over obesity claims.

     Dom Thompson, the big cheeseburger at McDonald's, defended the company against allegations that it targets children and minority communities with unhealthy food.

    "We don't sell junk food," Mr Thompson said, adding the usual yadda yadda about selling vegetables, egg whites and not "overtly marketing to children". 

  • 10:19
  • 10:26
    The Irish Times's Rosita Boland has been in Woolwich, gauging the mood in the aftermath of the murder of Lee Rigby.
  • 10:31
  • 10:45
    The Cannes film festival wraps up this Sunday. Happily the new Coen Brothers film, Inside Llewyn Davis, has received great reviews, so that's somethign to look forward to.

    It features Justin Timberlake as one member of a faux-Peter, Paul and Mary. It’s got one of film’s best ever cats. If something so potentially delicious had not turned out to be a triumph then we may as well have flown home, wrote Donald Clarke earlier this week.

    There has also been some gleeful finger wagging at the sheer quantity of sex on screen this year. "Graphic sex scenes draw boos... at Cannes," the Times of London reported earlier this week.

    One film in particular,  Blue is the Warmest Colour, has got the festival buzzing. It is, according to Reuters, a poignant tale of love and sexuality centred on 15-year-old Adele... and her lover Emma. It's one of the most talked about films of the 20 vying for the top Palme d'Or prize.
  • 10:55

    But possibly the most gripping plot at the Cannes festival this year centres around the real-life, multi-million euro jewel heists that seem to be playing out in the background.

    Yesterday De Grisogono, the Swiss jeweller, claimed a €2 million diamond necklace had been pinched at a glamorous gala. that incident comes less than a week after De Grisogono's sister company, Chopard, said it had lost jewels worth €1.4 million at a luxury hotel in Cannes.

  • 11:06
    Back to Ireland now where Elaine Edwards has a piece in today's paper about the drop in the number of blue flag beaches in the country.

     Minister for the Environment Phil Hogan has expressed concern over the loss of Blue Flag status for some Irish beaches over what he called a “statistical glitch” and has asked his department to raise the matter with the European Commmission, she writes.

    That "glitch" has seen 13 of the country's beaches lose their coveted blue flag--for clean water and the like--status. "I'm concerned," the Minister said. The European Commission can expect a few inquiries, apparently.
  • 11:14
  • 11:19
    A Sinn Féin press release says the party has "sought an immediate explanation from the BBC after a sign appeared on a camera during the filming of last night’s BBC Question Time program designating Education Minister John O’Dowd as being a member of ‘SF/IRA!’".

  • 11:25
    Irish Times parliamentary correspondent Michael O'Regan has just been chatting with Pat Kenny about the Alan Shatter/Mattie McGrath business. Here's Marie O'Halloran's Dáil sketch from today's paper.
  • 11:31
    Concerned denizens of Leitrim take note:  

    "Forget environmental concerns: when it comes to fracking, Germans are worried about how it might affect beer quality,"  Spiegel Online reports.

    Brewers have written to ministers in Berlin expressing concern that the exploitation of shale gas could contaminate water supplies and thus violate a 500-year-old beer purity law.

    The letter argues that the brewing industry is dependent on high-quality drinking water, and that fracking could reduce or even completely eliminate the security of the water supply.
  • 11:45
  • 11:45
    The birthdays of Mitchelstown's finest writer, William Trevor (82); beach soccer legend, Eric Cantona (47); and Bob Dylan (72) have been noted.
  • 11:52
    John Downey (61), from Ards, Creeslough, Co Donegal, is charged with four counts of murder in a Hyde Park car bombing in July 1982 and one charge of intending to cause an explosion likely to endanger life.
  • 11:59
  • 12:03

    Here's more on that "Sinn Féin/IRA" floor plan sign attached to a camera at last night's BBC Question Time.

  • 12:04
  • 12:07
    The Minister for Education Ruairi Quinn has said legislation will be introduced in the Dáil next week to give effect to public sector pay cuts for those who have not signed up to revised pay agreement, RTÉ reports.
  • 12:20
    Tiny the jack russell with one of her adopted ducklings. Photo: Michael Kelly
    Tiny the jack russell with one of her adopted ducklings. Photo: Michael Kelly
  • 12:21
    It's been a good week for orphaned ducklings. Yesterday the Mooney Goes Wild programme on RTÉ featured a story about a cat who had taken to caring for some chicks along with her own kittens.

    On Monday we ran this picture of  a jack russell terrier who shares a shed with a group of ducklings:

  • 12:28
    So, for the week that's in it, here's another cute wildlife story:

    In a remarkably rapid display of evolution, cockroaches have grown to dislike the taste of insecticides.

    Apparently they lost the "sweet tooth" which attracted them to the delicious corn syrup that companies mixed with poison.

    “Cockroaches are highly adaptive, and they’re doing pretty well in the arms race with us,” said North Carolina State University entomologist Jules Silverman, discoverer of the glucose aversion.


    Now, I'm off to lunch.
  • 12:55
  • 13:03
    Clamorous US clothing brand Abercrombie and Fitch might want to consider putting more, or indeed, less, semi-naked men at the entrances of their outlets as first quarter results reveal the company sharply missed expectations  amid a slump in same-store sales.

    The Wall Street Journal today reports "shares dropped 7.1% to $50.51 in recent premarket trading as the company lowered its view for the year, now expecting per-share earnings of $3.15 to $3.25. Its prior view was $3.35 to $3.45 a share.

    "Abercrombie had shown weakness in recent quarters as its fashions failed to resonate with teens and young adults. The company had been grappling with disappointing sales at home and abroad, bloated inventory levels and an increase in markdowns."
  • 13:07
  • 13:08
  • 13:19
    Minister for Justice Alan Shatter must surely be hoping for a big news story to explode out of nowhere and blow this unseemly breathylyser business off the agenda... 

    But in the meantime, Fianna Fáil has put down a motion of no confidence in Mr Shatter. It will be taken in private members' time on Tuesday and Wednesday. RTÉ has more.

    Today Government Ministers James Reilly, Ruairí Quinn and Michael Noonan have all reiterated their confidence in Mr Shatter. Nothing to see here folks, move along, they said, pretty much.
  • 13:22
    When it comes to ceremonial openings, roads are challenging.

  • 13:28
    That's more like it.

  • 13:31
  • 13:43
  • 13:43
    Constable's view of Salisbury Cathedral, one of the great masterpieces of British art, has been saved for the nation, having been acquired by the Tate for £23.1 million. Of course, that doesn't matter to us a huge deal but the painting is nice:
  • 13:44
    Here's Marie O'Halloran with the latest on Alan Shatter.
  • 13:50
  • 14:01
    Those of you who were following the European Parliament plenary session via the online live stream this week will no doubt have seen Britain's UKIP MEPs making much mirth of the European Commission's proposals to ban restaurants from serving olive oil in refillable jugs and bowls.

    But in a shocking climb-down yesterday EU agriculture minister Dacian Ciolos confirmed that the commission would WITHDRAW the proposal, saying it had not garnered "widespread support".

    Suzanne Lynch has all the oleaginous details.
  • 14:06
    RAF fighters are escorting a Pakistan International Airlines passenger plane which has been diverted from Manchester to Stanstead airport.
  • 14:09
    British Airways has cancelled all short-haul flights into and out of Heathrow following emergency landing of flight to Oslo.
  • 14:16
  • 14:29
    And as the afternoon wears on our thoughts slowly turn to tonight's late late movies. On RTÉ 1 it's Sweet November (2001, drama, 12) Keanu Reeves, Charlize Theron: A woman takes a new lover every month and tries to make him a better man. While on TV3, Sandra Bullock and Ben Affleck star in Forces of Nature (1999, comedy, 12).  A harassed publishers bacomes smitten by a vivacious woman while making a journey to his own wedding.

    I've not heard of either of them.
  • 14:32
  • 14:39
    Everyone loves Haim, with their hair, their guitars, and all the rest of it. Brian Boyd spoke to the sororal three-piece this week and the interview can be found in today's Ticket. Or here.
  • 14:44
  • 14:54

    Read all of Donald Clarke's film reviews from Cannes here.

  • 15:03
    The European union is not reflecting the best interests of its citizens, nor is it confident of its intellectual tradition, according to President Michael D Higgins.

    In NUI Galway today President Higgins appealed for a new ethical framework which would be the EU's "defining contribution".

    Mr Higgins said that Europe’s principle crisis was one of “acknowledging that the union itself is not reflecting significantly the best interests of the people of Europe”.

    Lorna Siggins reports
  • 15:06
    Speaking of Europe, "We Germans need Europe as much as Europe needs us," says  Eckhard Lübkemeier on our op-ed page today.

    "With an eye on Wembley, Germany’s biggest newspaper crowed in English 'We are the Champions!'. Europe’s strongest economy, booming exports, record employment levels, balanced budgets, investors accepting negative interest rates for German bonds – and to top it all, two Bundesliga clubs will battle it out for the European football crown at Wembley."
  • 15:13
    The BBC has apologised after Sinn Féin minister for education in Northern Ireland John O'Dowd was labelled "SF/IRA!" on a floor plan for a current affairs programme in Belfast.

    The words "DUP/Goodies" were written on the plan to indicate where North Antrim DUP MP Ian Paisley Jnr was sitting.

    "The note was written by one of the technical staff on the programme for his own use," a spokeswoman said. She also said the BBC was "very sorry" for any offence caused.
  • 15:19
    A review of the processes used in the clearing of electronic and paper payments in the State has recommended a number of improvements, the Irish Payment Services Organisation (IPSO) has said.
    The review was ordered by the Central Bank after a technical glitch last summer significantly hampered Ulster Bank’s ability to process payments and affected the accounts of tens of thousands of customers for several weeks.

    Steven Carroll has more 
  • 15:27
    More news on the flight disruptions in the UK:

    Two men were arrested at Stansted Airport on suspicion of endangerment of an aircraft today after an RAF Typhoon jet was scrambled to escort a passenger plane travelling from Pakistan to the UK.

    A security source said early indications were that the diverted plane was not the target of a terrorist attack.
  • 15:42
    The BBC has scrapped an ambitious attempt to create a digital producation system and archive after admitting it had wasted almost £100 million on it and that to continue would be "throwing good money after bad".

    People, predictably, aren't pleased.

    "It's all very well saying that actions will be taken to ensure this can't happen again but that does't excuse or explain how this incredible waste of money has come to pass in the first place," said Matthew Sinclair, chief executive of the TaxPayers' Alliance.
  • 15:49
    Sky News, as they are wont to do in these types of situation, are providing constant converage of the flight diverted from Manchester to Stanstead.
  • 15:58
    Mark Hirsch, using his iPhone, photographed an oak tree in Platteville, Wisconsin, every day for a year. It makes a nice break from that solipsistic trend of people taking photos of themselves everyday for a year. Pics are on the Guardian website.
  • 16:01
    A Dublin City Council worker, who was found guilty of accessing her former supervisor’s voicemail messages, has escaped punishment, writes Tom Tuite.
    Severine Doyle (39) had pleaded not guilty to 11 charges under the Postal and Telecommunication Act. However, following a hearing last June she had been found guilty of intercepting voice messages on a mobile phone used by Teresa Conlon, Dublin City Council’s head of housing allocation
  • 16:09
  • 16:29
    So we have this:

    Danilo Di Luca: Giro d'Italia cyclist fails doping test. (from the BBC)

    And then we have this:
  • 16:32
    Now, we're trying to figure out whether Armstrong meant Di Luca was stupid for doping or stupid for getting caught.
  • 16:39
    A powerful earthquake has hit Russia’s Far East with tremors felt as far away as Moscow, about 7,000 kilometres west of the epicentre.
    The quake registered 8.0 on the Richter scale, said Marina Kolomiyets, a seismic station spokeswoman. The epicentre was in the Sea of Okhotsk, east of the Russian coast and north of Japan. It is one of the most seismically active regions in the world.
  • 16:47
    Pops Interesting times we live in
  • 16:50
  • 17:10
  • 17:13
    Well that brings an end to proceedings here. The day ends as it began, with Minister for Justice Alan Shatter catching the headlines

    But, as it's his birthday, we'll leave you with one more Dylan video. Blowin' in the Wind, from 50 years ago.